aging · Family · poetry · relationships · writing

Waiting on Heaven

“My children have come home to watch me die,”
she tells her doctor, repeats to me, #5, when I arrive.

“You leave the world the same you came in,” Doc said,
as if that makes sense, as if that offers comfort.

“We don’t want to see you suffer anymore,” I offer.
She agrees, tired of the pain.  92 and nothing but pain.

It’s not death that she fears – she’s ready –
it’s the dying – not knowing how it will happen.

“Will you be with me? When the time comes.”
I will.  Just as I did with a sister, two cousins,
father, an aunt, and countless others.

“Angel of Death,” a nurse called me once.
I shrugged: “Would you want to die alone?”

Death, I do know, is like birth,
in that the timing is unpredictable.

So, together, we’ll wait –
biding our time, talking about the present,
reflecting on the past, wondering what lies ahead.

Not all transitions, I’ve learned, are alike.

(I’ve returned home to be at my mother’s side, although, as the poem indicates, she may survive the current setback.  I’m linking this up to Manic Mondays 3 way prompt: reflection, and my own weekly challenge: transition.)

 

aging · health · life · poetry · spirituality

A Final Mystery

Is death a gentle reprieve,
a final release of suffering
a promised resting place?

Or is it contemplation
coloured by memories
demanding retribution?

Will death bring reunion
unleash forgiveness
shine with revelation?

Will one final earthly breath
call forth all the fragments of the soul
and restore wholeness?

I have witnessed death –
both embraced and unwanted –
snatch the spirit from its nest

felt the whoosh of escape
and a swirl of celebration,
known the peace that follows

witnessed the body, open-eyed
and open-mouthed
become a vacuum –

discarded membranes;
an impotent shell.

The spirit does not dwell there;
it lives on borrowed time.

Where it goes when all is done
remains life’s poignant mystery.